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Posted on: August 17, 2021

Post COVID Utility Assistance Plan/Policy

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has stated the moratorium on utility late fees and disconnects will end September 30, 2021.  There are approximately 450 utility customers who are 30 days or more delinquent on their utility bills.

Per the Governor’s order, all utility customers with delinquent utilities will be notified of all assistance available and be offered a payment plan for repayment of the utilities in full.

The City of Cheney urges all residential utility customers who were negatively impacted by COVID-19 to apply for assistance through Cheney Outreach prior to applying for the payment plan.

Available Financial Assistance

The federal guidelines allow ARPA funds to be used for utility assistance for bills incurred after March, 2020. The City of Cheney Council is authorizing up to $1,000 per customer to assist the following residential utility customers:

  1. Assistance for residential utility customers only.
  2. Utility account must be in name of person living at the address.
  3. Customers are eligible for assistance one time.
  4. Customer must be able to demonstrate they have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through job loss, reduction of hours, etc.
  5. Customer must be able to provide documentation (obtained from the City Finance Department) of the utility delinquency.
  6. Customer must be able to provide income verification documentation to Cheney Outreach.   Low-income residents that have been negatively impacted could receive a higher allocation, up to $1,500.
  7. Customers are able to receive assistance from the ARPA funds one time.
  8. Cheney Outreach will be the lead agency to receive assistance applications, verify income, verify delinquency, and determine amount of award.  The City will use ARPA funds to enable extended hours at Cheney Outreach Center from August 2021 - October 2021.
  9. Funding for this program will end December 31, 2021.

The Cheney Outreach Center is located at 616 3rd Street, Cheney, and can be reached at (509) 235-8900.

Payment Plans

Payment plans of 12 months are being offered to all utility customers.   The payment plan will work as follows:

  1. Utility Customer will apply at the Finance Department for a payment plan and sign the required promissory note.
  2. The individual requesting the payment plan MUST be the same person whose name is on the utility record.
  3. The payment plan is for the delinquent balance on the account.
  4. The delinquent balance will be split into 12 equal payments.
  5. The payment plan amount will be billed along with your regular utility bill and will be due at the same time as the regular utility bill.
  6. The regular utility bill must be paid in addition to the payment plan amount each month.
  7. Failure to make the payment plan payment by the 15th of each month will result in removal of the payment plan and the entire outstanding bill will be due within 10 days.  After 10 days, the account will be disconnected for non-payment.
  8. Enrollment in a payment plan will not remove the legal ability to lien the property for the unpaid utility bill.
  9. To sign up for a payment plan:
  1. Customer will contact the Finance Department and complete the application for a post COVID payment plan and a promissory note for repayment.
  2. Promissory note must be signed at the Finance Department or notarized if sending electronically.
  3. Finance Department will calculate the 1/12 payment and enroll the customers in the plan.
  4. The next utility bill will show both the regular charges plus the 1/12 of the plan due.
  5. Due dates for all payments are the 15th of the month.
  6. Property managers/owners will be notified of the tenant’s enrollment in a payment plan.

If you have any questions or need further information on payment plans, please contact the City of Cheney Finance Department at (509) 498-9209.

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